Saturday 22 July 2017

Friction between attorneys delays trial of Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony pictured during her trial with defense counsel Cheney Mason. Photo: Reuters
Casey Anthony pictured during her trial with defense counsel Cheney Mason. Photo: Reuters
Caylee Marie Anthony daughter of Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony pictured enjoying a night out while her two-year-old daughter was missing
The parents of Casey Anthony, George and Cindy Anthony pictured at the memorial for their granddaughter Caylee Anthony

Rosemary O’Grady

An infuriated Chief Judge Belvin warned the Casey Anthony defence and prosecution teams that he is getting fed up with their behaviour during the course of the trial as possible game-changing evidence has been signalled over the past few days.

Casey Anthony is facing a potential death sentence for murdering her child in the state of Florida.

The trial has captivated the imagination of the on-looking American public as the background to the gruesome case emerged over the past number of weeks. The 25-year-old is charged with first degree murder in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, whose skeletal remains were found in December of that year.

However yesterday the case became bogged down in lawyer v lawyer charges, increasing the judge's frustrations after prosecutor Jeff Ashton announced he intended to call for new sanctions against the defence, and Jose Baez in particular, for failing to disclose information about what his witnesses will testify about.

Amid accusations across the court room, Perry appeared on the verge of excluding the defence witnesses from being allowed to testify but held back from that measure out of concern that it might unfairly punish Casey Anthony herself.

“There has been gamesmanship in this particular case. It is quite evident there is a friction between attorneys,” Perry said.

“That is something I guess that the Florida Bar will deal with.”

He also repeated that he would handle Baez’s potential discovery violation after the proceedings.

Perry also decided he would not let the defence team’s intended first witness, Dr. William Rodriguez; testify until the prosecution had a chance to review his deposition, which occurred late last week after he started to express new opinions not included in his report provided to the prosecution.

Perry said he is bothered by the delays created recently and said he will have the attorneys work a full day on Saturday and perhaps make them come in early during weekdays.

“I’m getting very, very close to starting this proceeding every morning at 8:30,” Perry said.

“All of this folks is going to stop or you will be working some very fierce days. Be prepared Saturday to go the whole day.”

Baez walked away from the courthouse in silence as reporters followed and tried to get answers about his defence witnesses.

Co-counsel Cheney Mason nodded in agreement, however, when asked if the defence team will have witnesses prepared to testify later today.

Perhaps because the young woman’s life is on the line, Perry decided he would not prohibit testimony from Rodriguez.

Instead, the judge prevented jurors from hearing his opinions until prosecutors were granted an opportunity to hear the expert on Saturday afternoon.

Rodriguez was prepared to testify that he could not determine whether duct tape found with Caylee’s remains was placed on her mouth.

It is potentially game-changing testimony in a prosecution case that relies heavily on circumstantial evidence.

The duct tape, in fact, has been cited by the prosecution as the potential murder weapon in this case.

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